TLDR: If consensual and pursued with clear guidelines, non-monogamy can actually have a positive impact on your relationship. While they might not be for everyone, if you’re curious, we have some resources you might want to explore.
Tango's Take: Open Relationships 🔮
While popular culture has historically painted traditional monogamy as the only healthy vision of a long-term relationship, you may be surprised to learn that non-monogamy can also be a fitting option for couples.
Dr. Rothman, our in-house clinical psychologist, comments that “ethical non-monogamy (ENM), open relationships, and polyamory are types of “non-traditional” relationship agreements in which partners explore being emotionally and/or sexually involved outside of their primary partnership.”
What’s important to note about these arrangements is that they must be consensual and have super clear guidelines to ensure you both have the same expectations. While you may find it surprising to hear, consensual non-monogamy can be associated with positive effects on a relationship like a deeper sense of trust, more excitement, and better communication.
Interestingly, there appears to be more interest in non-monogamy recently. A February 2023 YouGov poll found that only 55% of Americans describe their ideal relationship as requiring complete monogamy. The other 45% are split between not being sure, wanting some non-monogamy, or wanting complete non-monogamy (an entirely open relationship). If you’re someone who falls into that camp, we say start by educating yourself.
While Dr. Rothman doesn’t state an opinion on whether or not it’s something that would work for your relationship - as every relationship is unique, she does encourage couples to consider it.
“If you’re interested in exploring more about this, there are tons of amazing resources. A great starter book on this is Polysecure by Jessica Fern or The Ethical Slut by Janet Hardy & Dossie Easton.”